National Urban Freight Planning Principles

National Forum on Urban Freight Logistics Education

In June 2022, a National Forum on Urban Freight Logistics Education was held at Queensland University of Technology. It was a collaborative effort between industry, academia and government. The purpose of the forum was to strengthen Australian land use planning and inform the approach for potential future course development.

Review a summary of the Forum outcomes PDF:127KB.

About the Principles

Video: National Urban Freight Planning Principles

The National Urban Freight Planning Principles are designed to guide land use decision-making across all levels of government to improve planning for freight in Australia’s metropolitan areas.

The seven Principles are:

  1. Understand the value, needs and characteristics of freight movement and incorporate in strategic and statutory transport and land use planning
  2. Safeguard the resilience of all major freight handling facilities and freight corridors within and between neighbouring jurisdictions, including local government areas
  3. Identify and plan areas for new freight facilities and freight-intensive land uses
  4. Plan for efficient freight movements and complementary land uses around freight facilities and precincts, including intermodal terminals
  5. Promote building and precinct design and usage that take into account freight needs
  6. Realise the importance of rest and refuelling facilities
  7. Respond to changes in freight movements, including smaller scale freight movement and emerging technologies

To access the Principles, click here: Urban Freight Planning Principles

Each state and territory jurisdiction and the Australian Government report their practical actions to implement the principles through the National Freight and Supply Chain annual reporting process, starting from the 2021-22 reporting year.

Why the Principles are important

The Commonwealth, together with states and territories and industry, has developed the Principles in response to industry calls for improved consideration of freight in transport and land use planning.

With urban freight volumes predicted to increase 60 per cent by 2040, pressures on freight networks will grow. Congestion, freight curfews and limits on heavy vehicle access are expected to worsen as Australia’s increasing population drives competition for land and space on transport networks.

The Principles highlight linkages between freight movement and land use planning. They are designed to assist freight operators, planners, engineers, developers, transport regulators, and other practitioners to work together. Ensuring freight movements’ impacts on community safety and environmental outcomes are balanced with our need to ensure freight moves efficiently. This will help to maintain the liveability of our cities and economic prosperity.

Developing the Principles

The Principles were developed as an action under the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and endorsed by Infrastructure and Transport Ministers in 2021.

The development of the Principles was a long-standing reform called for by industry, including through the 2018 independent Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. They draw on learnings from early actions taken by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise any unnecessary barriers to freight movement, including removing delivery curfews and enabling availability of rest stops and refuelling facilities. These actions ensured Australians received timely and reliable supplies of essential goods.

The principles reflect outcomes from:

  • public consultation with over 60 organizations and individuals across the planning sector and freight industry
  • three public focus groups to seek feedback on the principles on 18 December 2020, 19 January 2021 and 21 January 2021
  • focus groups were supported by an online survey from 24 November to 18 December 2020.

A summary of the focus group outcomes can be found here PDF: 4.6 MB.